What we do
Café Emm has served the community of East Northampton for over thirty years. It’s a place where people come for many reasons. Some just take a break for a cake and a drink, some to have a rest from their shopping or while they wait for the bus. Others have more complex reasons - Weston Favell Centre is on the edge of East Northampton, one of the most deprived parts of the UK according to the 2015 Indices of Multiple Deprivation.
We often provide meals for people at no cost, because they can’t afford to eat at home, and we run a range of discounts as an incentive to encourage young mums who might think twice about buying their children something to eat when they’re out.
Who we are
Café Emm is an independent charity run by a board of trustees who believe deeply that social inequality destroys lives. Our vision is to provide a place where absolutely anyone can come, to find a place of peace, to be away from the stress of their normal environment. And to find help to deal with the many problems they encounter. We partner with organisations to provide that help, so you will often see someone sitting in the café with a banner advertising how they can help our customers. Our partners are very good at finding ways to solve problems and improve lives.
We have three lovely staff who run the cafe, cook the food and make it a comfortable and homely place to be. They manage and support our volunteer team - some of whom have learning disabilities - to give a friendly and caring service that is unlike any other café in Weston Favell. All our customers are friends.
What we need
To provide the service and the space that we do costs more than we can raise from the sale of food and drink, and that has long been the case. Typically, we raise between 80% and 90% of our income this way, but the rest comes from charitable donations. Those help us to keep operating. If we ever end up with a surplus, or we get special donations, we can also do other things - recently the café was refurbished, and we’d like to update the ageing toys in our toy corner, get some new sofas, and even start to provide food during term time to nursery children in East Northampton.
So we are quite unusual, because we’re not raising money to do something new. Instead, we need it to continue what we already do. You might think that we could put our prices up to cover our shortfall, but if we did that, many of our customers would no longer be able to afford to visit, so our income would go down (we demonstrated that accidentally a couple of years ago!).
What you can do
If you support us by pledging and gift-aiding a cash sum, you will help us to continue to provide the service we do. If you give us £50, we’ll give you a slice of one of our excellent home made cakes. If you give us £100 or more, we’ll treat you to lunch (Tuesdays and Fridays - watch our Facebook page for details!). And if you gift-aid it, even better!
That doesn’t sound like a huge reward for your investment. You’re not getting shares or options on the profits on some amazing new technology. In fact, you won’t ever see your money again.
But the effects of your donation will be that someone will be able to come to us and know that they can get something to eat, find a new friend to talk to, or have a few moments peace away from the intense stress of their normal lives. And they might even find the answer to the problem that’s been weighing them down.
Your donation will brighten someone’s life, and they will love you for it even though they don’t know who you are. And we will love you, too (with food, of course).